Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Chronic Bronchitis Anatomy

To better understand chronic bronchitis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lungs.

Inside the chest, the windpipe, or trachea, divides into two smaller tubes: the right bronchus and the left bronchus. The right bronchus enters the right lung and the left bronchus enters the left lung. The right bronchus and left bronchus branch into smaller and smaller tubes.

The smallest tubes, called bronchioles, end in tiny air sacs, called alveoli. Blood flows very close to the walls of the alveoli. Oxygen and carbon dioxide pass between the air and the bloodstream through the wall of the alveoli.

Anatomy examples:

  • The lung and airways
  • The bronchioles and alveoli
  • The lungs

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chronic Bronchitis References
  1. Brunton S, Carmichael BP, Colgan R, Feeney AS, Fendrick AM, Quintiliani R, Scott G. Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis: a primary care consensus guideline. Am J Manag Care. 2004 Oct;10(10):689-96. [1552116]
  2. Martinez FJ, Anzueto A. Appropriate outpatient treatment of acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Am J Med. 2005 Jul;118(Suppl 7A):39S-44S. [15993676]
  3. Panpanich R, Lerttrakarnnon P, Laopaiboon M. Azithromycin for acute lower respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001954. [15497172]
  4. Schmier JK, Halpern MT, Higashi MK, Bakst A. The quality of life impact of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB): a literature review. Qual Life Res. 2005 Mar;14(2):329-47. [1589242]
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